Our editors will be looking ahead today to these developing stories ...
Vladimir Putin steps up to a changed world
Vladimir Putin takes office for a third term as Russian president at a pivotal moment in its post-Soviet history, with his supporters expecting landmark reform but the opposition fearing stagnation. Sworn in at a grand ceremony in the Kremlin, he returns to the post he held from 2000-08 - but now ruling a Russia changed by the outburst of mass protests against the authorities. Outgoing President Dmitry Medvedev, mocked as a mere Kremlin seat-warmer for the past four years, is expected to take on Putin's current position, prime minister, in a job swap that has angered the protesters.
First accumulator case goes to court
Hearings on Hong Kong's first commercial dispute over the sale of accumulator financial products begin in the High Court. DBS Bank (Hong Kong) is seeking repayment of HK$90 million from investor Hao Ting after the Beijing woman lost on a DBS product. The case is set for seven days.
Education Bureau briefs on new year's textbooks
The Education Bureau provides a briefing on electronic book and textbook prices for the coming academic year. Textbook prices are expected to rise 3 to 4 per cent due to inflation, according to a coalition of textbook publishers. Education Secretary Michael Suen Ming-yeung said last year the government would focus on developing e-books, presumably hoping this would lead to cheaper textbooks, after failing to get publishers to unbundle expensive supplementary materials from textbooks.
Syria holds its first election under new constitution
Syria holds a multiparty parliamentary election critics and analysts say will do little to change the autocratic country. The vote, initially scheduled for last September, was postponed to today after President Bashar al-Assad announced the launch of a reform process. It comes amid deadly unrest sweeping the country since March last year that has claimed more than 11,100 lives. The election follows the adoption in February by referendum of a new constitution that ended the five-decade stranglehold of the ruling Baath party. Nine parties have been created and seven have candidates seeking parliamentary seats. Pro-regime parties led by the Baath party form a coalition called the National Progressive Front. Some 7,195 candidates have registered to stand for the 250 seats, state news agency SANA said.
Facebook goes on the road for May 18 trading
The roadshow for Facebook's initial public offering is scheduled to start today, according to Reuters. That would mean the company's shares begin trading on May 18. Facebook founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, who has kept a low profile so far during the listing process, will reportedly be involved in the roadshow. Business B3
Yunnan marks the making of a good cuppa
Tomorrow marks Tea Drinking Day in Yunnan, which is famous for growing puer tea, one of the most popular Chinese teas. Provincial authorities have proposed to the central government that May 8 be declared National Tea Drinking Day.